Editor’s Note: Below is the 100 week version of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published August 2, 2022. Visit the NYC Recovery Index homepage for the latest data.
New York City’s economy continued to recover modestly in the week ending July 23, with the index score rising to 73 points out of 100, after a major rebound in the previous week. Among the index’s subcomponents, COVID-19-related hospitalizations fell for the first time in seven weeks, while unemployment insurance (UI) claims fell significantly. On the other hand, declines were recorded in metro ridership, restaurant reservations and the availability of rentals. Meanwhile, pending home sales are back in line with their pre-pandemic average.
New York City’s economic recovery stands at a score of 73 out of 100, according to the New York City Recovery Index, a joint project between Investopedia and NY1. More than two years into the pandemic, New York City’s economic recovery is nearly three-quarters back to pre-pandemic levels.
Reverse course of COVID-19 hospitalizations
It was a positive week for the city’s health outlook as hospitalizations fell for the first time in nearly two months, following six straight weeks of increases. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 fell to 153 in the week ending July 23, from 163 recorded the previous week. The current level of hospitalizations remains very high, more than eight times higher than the post-winter wave low of 18 hospitalizations recorded in early March. Despite this, the increase in cases and hospitalizations due to the spread of omicron subvariants has been less pronounced compared to previous waves of the pandemic. The COVID-19 hospitalizations sub-index remains the worst-performing measure of the aggregate index, registering a score of just 38 out of 100 in the latest index update.
The CDC continues to project that virtually all current cases are related to omicron, with the overwhelming share of new cases attributable to the BA.5 subvariant. The BA.5 subvariant now accounts for 82.4% of all new infections, compared to 12.4% attributed to the BA.4 variant. Meanwhile, the share of cases attributed to the old BA.2.12.1 strain has fallen to just over 5%.
The share of fully vaccinated New York residents remained unchanged from last week, with 79.1% of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to NYC Health and Hospital Data. Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 2.73 million cases – confirmed and probable – have been reported in New York, while deaths have topped 41,000.
Drop in unemployment claims
The number of people filing Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims dropped significantly in the week ending July 23. The total number of requests fell to 6,610 from nearly 10,000 the previous week. Meanwhile, the 2019 rolling claims average, following the equivalent pre-pandemic week, fell by just under 1,500 claims to 7,300. unemployment are now around 10% lower than their pre-pandemic level, with the index measure once again seen as fully recovered. Recent developments in the city’s labor market mark a sharp reversal from two weeks ago, when applications peaked at 12,000.
Home sales are down slightly
Pending home sales across New York City declined slightly in the week ending July 23, dropping from 37 to 446 homes sold. Meanwhile, the moving average for home sales in 2019, following the equivalent pre-pandemic week, rose slightly to 448 sales. As such, pending home sales are almost exactly at their pre-pandemic baseline, with the pending home sales sub-index measuring 99.5 out of 100. cities have generally exceeded pre-pandemic levels for most of the past year, buoyed by a strong national housing market and robust demand. However, with rising mortgage rates, limited inventory and increasingly unaffordable prices for most buyers, one could expect downward pressure on home sales in the coming weeks.
This week, home sales in Queens were 11.8% above their pre-pandemic average. Brooklyn was effectively unchanged from its 2019 baseline, while Manhattan home sales are now 8.3% below their pre-pandemic baseline.
Availability of rental falls
There were 15,998 vacant units available on the city’s rental market during the week of July 23, down 391 from the previous week. As a result, the rental inventory sub-index fell 1.4 percentage points to 81 out of 100. At its current level, vacant rental units remain a few thousand units below their pre-pandemic benchmark.
Metro ridership backtracks
Metro ridership levels fell again during the week ending July 23, after a healthy increase recorded the previous week. The seven-day passenger average is now 39.2% below its pre-pandemic baseline, down from 37.7% the previous week, lowering the sub-index to a score of 60.8 out of 100. The level current ridership is roughly in line with November 2021. levels, just before the start of the first omicron wave. For the week, the MTA recorded an average of 2.69 million daily runners, compared to an average of 2.75 million recorded the previous week.
Other modes of transportation serving New York City commuters fare only slightly better than the city’s subway system. City bus ridership is currently 63.1% of the pre-pandemic average, while rail networks, namely Metro North and Long Island Railroads (LIRR), are currently experiencing 67.3% and 68% respectively. % of their pre-pandemic capacity. Bridges and tunnels traffic is doing significantly better, with traffic at 97.6% of its pre-pandemic baseline. This indicates that out-of-town commuters, especially those who drive or take the bus to and from the city, return at a faster rate than subway and train commuters.
Restaurant Reservations Slide
New York restaurant reservations experienced another correction in the week ended July 23, with the seven-day reservation average falling 37.9% below its pre-pandemic level . Meanwhile, the restaurant reservations sub-index has fallen to 62 points out of 100. Recent weeks have seen huge swings in reservations, falling from a pandemic-era peak of 25.4% below from pre-Covid levels in the week ending July 2, to a low of 43.1% below the following week. The city’s restaurant industry would need to see more consistent gains in bookings for a full recovery to take place.